[taps microphone, winces at horrible screeching noise, looks sheepish]
I have an announcement to make.
A long while back, you may have gotten an email that said something like, “Please pardon our dust. We’re rebranding. We’ll give you a behind the scenes later.”
That was a long time ago.
This, finally, is “later.”
As promised, we have for your viewing pleasure:
- A little behind the scenes on the rebrand,
- the unplanned diversions and disasters along the way,
- and a peek at the very last piece of the puzzle.
So! You’ll want to read all the way through on this one. (Cause that’s where the last piece is. Get it?)
Therefore, without further ado, I give you…
3 [+2] Phases of a Rebrand, Or a Trilogy in Five Parts.
Rebrand Phase One! Streamline the email lists.
When we introduced The Letter, we had seven email lists in total.
That’s a lot. One main newsletter list, and six industry-specific ones.
It made sense when we started to have the first six – they were the original free marketing courses, for coaches, writers, bloggers and so on – and they were great while we had them.
But it was time to streamline and freshen up. So we merged them all – take a second to imagine how much fun THAT was – and now we have The Letter.
Ahhhh. Much simpler.
To the 41,000 of you who are subscribed to The Letter, please accept my thanks.
Rebrand Phase Two! Integrate a new training model.
Analyzing customer data is hard.
Like, really hard.
If you’re Coke and you have 100,000 people saying they want wide-mouth bottles and 100,000 people saying they want you to bring back New Coke and 286 people saying it doesn’t taste enough like blueberries – where do you start?
Plus, what if I wrote in to say I want it to taste more like blueberries, but maybe I’d also like a wide-mouth bottle?
Nobody asked me if I wanted a wide-mouthed bottle.
I never thought of that.
Hell, now that you mention it…
People are notoriously bad at coming up with “what they want” off the top of their head because they don’t know what their options are.
We decided to combat that by getting in front of real humans’ faces and saying, “Hello! Here are some ideas. What do you think of them?
We also asked, “What do we do that you like? What do we do that you wish we didn’t? What do other trainers do that you like? What do other trainers do that you wish they didn’t?”
You like: Customization, instructions for what to do if your business is weird, worksheets, action lists, templates, checklists, and so on.
You do not like: Trainers who strand you alone in the desert to perish, zip files that cost the same as a family vacation, and generalist training that talks about everything but teaches nothing.
My favorite quote?
“You know what really sick and tired of? I’m sick and tired of people saying they’re teaching business skills but they’re actually gussied up life coaches. A thousand dollars for how to be awesomely famous, how to be famously awesome, how to live an awesome life, how to have all your awesome dreams of fame come true awesomely.”
“I have to pay a fortune for six weeks of manic intensity and then I’m left at the end with no real direction or results. I buy into the hype, again, and nothing can live up to what these people are promising. I just want someone to tell me what to do.”
So you may notice that in response to your feedback, we haven’t done a traditional “product” since March 2012. We’ve been doing workshops, worksheets, and modular training that teaches you exactly what to do in exactly what order.
How to build your email list.
How to create a brand worthy of 300 loyal, repeat buyers.
How to plan your next six months.
How to write exactly what you need to write and no more.
That kind of stuff.
So, yeah. A new kind of business training. The kind that trains you… in actual business! Sweet, huh?
Rebrand Phase Three! Streamline the #*$@&#$* site and store already.
If you came to IttyBiz for the first time a few months ago, you would have found 17 products in the store.
That’s a lot.
If we average 6 workshops a year and made home study versions of them, the store would get pretty unwieldy pretty quickly. And once you start adding bundles and packages into the mix, we’re getting into “yikes” territory.
Something had to change.
This change would all have gone along perfectly swimmingly and you would have read this article about nine months ago, except…
[cue ominous music]
Unplanned Diversion #1! We done got famous.
(She says, with tongue planted firmly in cheek.)
There was a little New York Times bestseller called The $100 Startup.
In it, the author spent a chapter saying many nice things about me and my consulting services, most of which I did not deserve.
You might wonder how many people pay for this service (answer: a lot) and whether it’s worth it (answer: keep reading). Naomi is originally from London, Ontario, but I met her in London, England, where she was living near her mother.
While riding the tube around the city and wandering through an outdoor clothing market, I asked for her advice on a situation in my business. She listened for two minutes and asked a few clarifying questions. Then, without much of a pause, she said, “Here’s what you should do,” and gave me a list of specific actions and ideas while I frantically wrote them down.
I took her advice and spent a few hours applying it to my next project. As a result, I made at least $15,000 more over the next year because of her action list. (I didn’t pay Naomi’s fee of $250, but I hope she appreciates this extended testimonial.)
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau, page 164
To give you an idea of how many people read that book, it currently has 669 reviews on Amazon.
Consulting and service requests started going through the roof somewhere around July of last year and my little, “let’s get to the rebrand quickly” notions were blown to smithereens. (We actually took our consulting page down to lessen the requests. If that affected you, please accept my apologies.)
So, yeah. Change of plan. Great change of plan, but change of plan nonetheless.
Then along came…
Unplanned diversion #2! We done got hacked.
As we settled into a nice routine of consulting with everybody under the sun, our website got hacked.
Nobody really had time to get a new website looking nice, so a charming ninja put up a placeholder.
We left it there for months.
Now the new site is finally up.
Thank you for your patience. I will spare you the tour, because I still haven’t got to the last piece of the puzzle yet.
And now, FINALLY, the last piece of the puzzle.
So, after much ado, some great diversions and some less great diversions, we are FINALLY doing what we meant to do months ago.
We’re retiring the current training line-up.
(That’s a fancy way of saying we’re taking all the stuff out out of the store and then closing it. I thought it sounded less dramatic that way.)
We’re now running one last sale on the stuff in the store, and then it’s going off into the vault.
To make room for the new, we gotta clear out the old.
Here’s to what’s coming next.